Programmer, Developer or Coder

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[Warning: I'm sharing an opinion here so don't catch feelings and meltdown if you don't agree. I'm glad to have discussions and learn others opinions on the topic but if you come for an argument, you can fuck off to some other media and argue there]

So I've been in tech for many years and I've noticed the term "Coder" gaining popularity in recent years and I have to say, it annoys me. I've held many jobs and roles in tech throughout the years and the initial roles I had were titled Software Programmer. In all of those roles I was writing code much like I do today.

Fast forward 10 years and I started noticing "Programmer" was slowly being replaced by "Software Developer" which I didn't mind to be honest. Software Developer was one of those terms that just makes sense and felt like a natural evolution to Programmer. Though I feel like the adoption of Software Developer was generally influenced and somewhat normalized by individuals in related fields but did actually write code. 

I remember being in a "code session" with a small group of colleagues designing some new features and a Project Manager walks in and asked us "What are you developing?" Some of my colleagues started to laugh and one of them sarcastically responded "We're not developing, we're programming".  I noticed that the programmers had reacted in agreement with that statement and I clearly remember having the same sentiment. We were programming. That was the first time I recall hearing our work being referred to as development from then on I was more aware to the subtle shift from programming to developing and programmer to developer. I also recall a few months later, lots of marketing hype and jargon around "Software Development Tools" and "Rapid Application Development" was becoming commonly used in discussions by those very programmers that gave that PM all that shit weeks earlier. Software Developer and Software Development was rapidly replacing Programmer and Programming in conversations I was having and it got to the point where I was still using Programmer to describe myself where others had adopted the new terminology and had obviously moved on. 

Now none of this bothered me at all. I believe that I was unintentionally conditioned by everyone else using these new terms to describe our profession and I unconsciously adopted these terms as well. As I  mentioned earlier, Developer feels like a fitting term for programmers and a natural upgrade but I do take issue with how it evolved which I feel was not an organic change by programmers but influenced by others outside of the community. This is of course not a new occurrence and will continually happen in this industry but I like organic change from the impacted communities. Though I also believe that lots of these communities occasionally need to be pushed by outside influences to help shape that positive organic growth. 


So I've now adopted Developer as my role and still use programmer on occasion but I just can't get behind this new trend of using the term "Coder". I know that by definition it's correct but I just can't get into adopting that term as a reference to my occupation. Code is what we programmers and developers produce not what we do. I realize that this may seem like a silly opinion but It's something I feel strongly about and I really don't like it.

I remember the first time I heard the term Coder in reference to programmers and it was on the HBO show Silicon Valley  After hearing it on the show I remember my reaction was "Oh fuck no I really don't like that! Fuck all that noise." and followup thoughts of "I hope that never becomes the new normal" like it's predecessor developer. I still literally cringe and react when I hear the term coder in reference to my occupation. I know I'm going to probably regret admitting this, but "coder" is definitely a trigger word for me. I've put some thought to the roots of my disdain for this and the cause is that coder didn't originate organically from within the community. Also it just sounds and feels all wrong.

I can confidently come to this conclusion because I've been actively engaging, learning from and mentoring developers for many years. I've participated in over 250+ technical events and hackathons where I've had tens of thousands of interactions with developers and I've yet to hear any of these developers or hackers ever use the term Coder. It's just not a term we use in the community but I've definitely heard it uttered by those that aren't directly affiliated with the profession and I don't have an issue with that but be warned... I will correct it if used in my presence! With all "due" respect and understanding of course

Well I hope you've been entertained by this post and whatever your reaction remember I'm a Programmer or Developer NEVER a Coder

Which one are you? 







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